News: Tagged as Fred Smeijers
A brand new design ideal for modern devices, two long awaited and highly anticipated extensions and a whole host of language updates and new Office and Web versions – say hello to FF 61, our latest release.
FF Videtur is based on bitmap fonts that were created by Axel Bertram, one of East Germany’s most legendary designers, for the state television broadcaster GDR-TV. Bertram spent a great deal of time researching and testing the display conditions of 625-line television screens. His findings prompted the creation of Videtur, a functional open serif with moderate contrast and a highly unique shape. Fast forward two decades later and with a helping hand from FontFont’s Head of Type, Andreas Frohloff, the whole character set has been completely re-drawn and reinvigorated. The best characteristics of the earlier forms were kept but the typeface’s vertical proportions, serif shape, and stroke contrast have been carefully reconsidered.
Revamped, new weights and new language support
We are delighted to introduce the new completely revamped and updated FF Netto. Daniel Utz’s no frills spurless sans serif has been one of the FontFonts of choice, particularly on the web, ever since its release back in 2008. The new FF Netto has slightly increased spacing, revised curves and connections and two new extreme weights, the delicate and sinewy Thin and the confident and chunky Black. As if this wasn’t enough, Daniel Utz with help from the Type Team have also added new italics for all weights and Pro language support.
Language extensions and format additions
Our entire Premium Tier is now available in Pro, Offc and Web formats. So, now you can bring consistency and typographical finesse in more languages and across more applications/platforms.
New: FF Chambers Sans Pro
New: FF Disturbance Pro
New: FF Enzo Pro
New: FF Magda Pro
New: FF Speak Pro
New: FF Super Grotesk Pro
New: FF TradeMarker Pro
New: FF Transit Propermalink
‘A fieldguide for makers. A love letter to Design.’
The Shape of Design is a beautiful and thought-provoking insight into the role of design as a way of planning and as a medium for change. It’s a veritable handbook not just for designers but for anyone who wants to make something.
Written by Frank Chimero, a designer, illustrator, teacher and writer based in New York, the book came about following a highly successful Kickstarter campaign in 2011. Set in our very own FF Quadraat by Fred Smeijers, the Shape of Design is available both in print and as an eBook.
FF Quadraat is one of the FontFont classics and has been part of our library since the early days. Over the years, it has grown into a formidable super family and in 2011 was completely overhauled and updated by Smeijers and our Type Department.
We spoke to Frank Chimero about his experience writing the book, his love of reading and his choice of typeface.
Over the past year, numerous great ideas have been brought about through Kickstarter, including films, products, even typefaces. Indeed at the next TypeCon 2012 there will be a whole panel discussion about using Kickstarter as a means to fund new typefaces. How did the experience influence your approach to writing the book?
Kickstarter opens up the creative process to an audience, and makes it feel less like a black box where ‘magic’ happens. This is both good and bad. It’s great because that openness turns a book into a continuum of experiences for the audience. They now have back-story and can connect to the work before they read it. There’s the story of making the story, and you can build a small community of people with that.
On the negative side, that openness turns the process into a kind of performance. The writer has people watching, and that can be stunting. There were several points while writing where things were a total mess, and I felt like I had to be very strategic about what I shared with the backers to make it seem like the train was still on the rails.
But let’s not be too dour about this stuff. The Kickstarter campaign gave me a year to think about the ideas I wanted to pursue. And now, there’s a group of smart people considering those ideas, and in certain cases, running with them. That’s marvelous. A miracle.
Frank Chimero’s ‘The Shape of Design’ – Table of contents; © Portrait by Jessica Hische
Your book is somewhat classical, in terms of proportion and layout. Your website is more whimsical and light-hearted. Did you find the printed book as a medium somewhat limiting, in terms of design and production possibilities?
No. My design choices were based on the writing, and I decided the words required a simple presentation. There was no need to get fussy with it, because I was confident in the ideas and happy with the writing’s clarity.
Many of the design decisions were also influenced by the affordances of ebooks and their readers. The cover was designed to be very iconic so I had a design system which could transition to each reading environment. The page size of the printed book was chosen to be similar in size to what would be experienced on an iPad or Kindle. The illustrations are two-color, because I knew I could make them look good on a Kindle, iPad, and in print.
Basically, I wanted to design a system that was flexible enough to keep its identity intact as the words went from place to place. I think it is possible to craft books in a way so that no reading environment is obviously inferior to another, whether printed book or ebook. Each piece has to shine on all the other parts to make a better whole.
Would you agree that The Shape of Design isn’t a traditional design book? Whilst there are passages where you mention things about your working process, there aren’t specific case studies presented, images of your work (other than the beautiful illustrations!), or a list of favorite clients, etc. Instead, your book is more a collection of stories about the design process?
I never wanted this book to be about my work or specifically anyone else’s. I think the title speaks to that: The Shape of Design is more about the field’s body of work. What happens if you group all the work together? What are the similarities, and what is it trying to do? Once you start thinking this way, personal examples or in-depth, individual case studies seem inappropriate.
The book is about being tasked to make useful things for others. That means being generous in who it uses as examples, whether graphic designer, poet, or chef. I wanted to pull insight from the outside. It also requires me to shine a light on the creative process in an abstract way, then consider the products of design as things that seek to produce change and be consequential. This runs counter to the usual presentation of design as a set of beautiful artifacts. There’s an important place for that sort of treatment, but this wasn’t it.
What was your ‘Why’ behind the Shape of Design?
I wrote the Shape of Design because I thought it was important to have a reminder of the effects of our work. There is beauty and consequence and joy to making things for other people, and I thought it deserved a rumination. I initially wrote it for my students, but in the process I discovered I needed it as well.
The Shape of Design is set in FF Quadraat, a rather traditional and classic text typeface. Why did you choose this one?
I read a book of essays by Michael Chabon typeset in FF Quadraat, and was really happy with the effect. The type felt warm and friendly, yet still refined and thoughtful. As you said, FF Quadraat isn’t a traditional text typeface, so reading Chabon’s book was a little bit less fluid than I was used to. It metered my consumption, and gave a better opportunity to reflect after each essay. I decided that this was something important to my book since it’s a shorter title, and while having a full arc, each of the chapters stands on its own.
You were an early adopter of webfonts. Is FF Quadraat the text typeface on your website at the moment because it is also the face of your book? Or, perhaps the other way around?
At first, my selection of FF Quadraat Web wasn’t an overtly conscious decision. I chose it as the typeface in Pages as I wrote, and my words seemed to grow into it. Then I stumbled upon Chabon’s book, became pleased with the fit, and changed my site to use the webfont. We’ve had a good relationship since then.
Your book is offered in a printed version and as an eBook. What is your preferred way of reading?
Fiction in print to shut out the world, non-fiction as an ebook to keep track of my marginalia. In either case, if I enjoyed what I read, I buy the nicest printed copy I can find. I want the things I love to be a part of my day-to-day life.
How did the process of writing this book compare to other long-term graphic design projects you have tackled?
I wrote this book over the course of a year, and I noticed that I developed a ‘window of approval’ that my lengthier design projects never had. I felt the things I had recently written were good, but the old parts always needed work, even if liked them before. So, I was perpetually out of sync with myself, where the person who was reading the words was conceptually further along than the writer who wrote them. It meant that I was growing, but it also felt like I was never getting closer to finishing, because I’d always have to go back two months later and fix what I wrote. Snake eating its tail, and all that.
My frustration came from a misunderstanding I think many of us have about creative work: we forget that doing the work makes us better, and being better makes us dislike the work that made us that way. Design seems to be more friendly to this problem, because big projects are typically released piece by piece, and you can course-correct over time. The work can exist in flux, where as a book has a canonical version. Books, unfortunately, must be printed all at once, so it’s easier to worry and toil endlessly. Now I understand why many authors spend five years on a book.
I thought writing a book wouldn’t be much different from writing essays. That was a naive thought. It is totally and fundamentally different, simply because you can’t hold a whole book in your head at once.
You have a fantastic ‘library’ section on your website, with brief descriptions of 45 books. Do you think that we’ll see more and more books like The Shape of Design in the future?
I hope so! There are solid fundraising platforms like Kickstarter, and small-run and vanity presses like Lulu and Blurb. Right now, there’s little in the way of someone publishing their thoughts, they only need to muster up the time and focus (which is a battle on its own).
I am excited about what’s to come. I foresee more opportunities to share what we write, and better things to read. It’s a good time to like words.
BERLIN, GERMANY, December 2011 – FontShop International announced the latest additions to its award-winning FontFont® typeface library.
FF Ernestine was born from the search for a versatile monoline text typeface that would feel warm yet serious, feminine yet firm, charming yet sturdy. This resulted in a strong slab serif with playful ball terminals. Its rather large x-height and wide, open shapes enable it to work well down to small sizes; ligatures, stylistic and contextual alternates, a selection of arrows, and two sizes of small caps enrich its typographic palette.
Nina Stössinger first drew the Roman as a study project at the postgraduate Type Design programme in Zurich, and the Italic in dialogue with Hrant Papazian’s Armenian design. Both the Roman and the Italic (which doubles as a harmonious companion to the Armenian component) are available in four individually drawn weights. The four corresponding Armenian weights, nicknamed “Vem” —integrated in the Roman and Italic fonts in the Pro version— share the personable character of the family with proportions optimized for the Armenian script.
Updated and Extended FontFonts
After fonts are released, work continues behind the scenes to improve and extend the usefulness of the faces with the addition of new weights and greater language support. FontFont is pleased to announce extensions to the following typefaces, available immediately.
FF Quadraat and FF Quadraat Sans: Revised and Extended (New Weights, Pro Language Support Including Cyrillic)
Fred Smeijers has completely overhauled his most popular superfamily. Both FF Quadraat and FF Quadraat Sans get a noticeable update to their designs. FF Quadraat also adds a new weight, Demi Bold, to the family, FF Quadraat Sans and Sans Condensed now come in the additional weights Thin, Extra Light, Light and Demi Bold. They are now available as Pro versions, including support for both the Latin Extended and Cyrillic character sets.
Learn more about the revised FF Quadraat superfamily in this special specimen PDF (2.8 MB).
Download specimen PDF (2.8 MB).
FF Meta Serif: Extended Language Support (Cyrillic & Greek)
FF Meta Serif by Erik Spiekermann, Christian Schwartz and Kris Sowersby now speaks more languages with glyph support extended to cover Cyrillic and Greek alphabets. FF Meta Serif joins its popular sans companion, FF Meta, in offering this broad range of linguistic ability.
FF Signa: Extended (New Weights)
New Office and Web FontFonts
FF QType by Achaz Reuss offers its additional weights, Compressed, Condensed, Extended, and Semi Extended in new formats, Office and Web. Just a refresher: Offc FontFonts are the best choice for all who work with the widely-used Office apps like Word®, Excel® and PowerPoint®. Pro means that it also supports additional languages (Latin Extended).
FF Skill Sets: The Right Fonts for All Purposes
With thousands of FontFonts to choose from, the options can be as daunting as they are exciting. So let the experts do the work for you. Typography masters Erik Spiekermann and Jürgen Siebert handpicked the best FontFonts, and compiled them in three Skill Sets — for advertising, editorial, and corporate design. Simply select which Skill Set best suits your practice, and you can start designing without fuss. Not only will you have all the right fonts licensed in one collection, you’ll save a bundle of cash too.
Learn more about FontFont Skill Sets here.
FontFont Library Tiers
Introducing FontFont Library Tiers: Premium, Collection and Free
In an effort to minimize the amount of time customers spend choosing fonts, we have split our library into three distinct tiers, dubbed the FontFont Library Tier system. Watch out for further information that will come in another post next week.
These are the latest additions (release 46) to the FontFont library:
New FontFonts and extensions
FF Chambers Sans OT by Verena Gerlach – Verena Gerlach’s experiment with oppositional styles resulted in this combination of static grotesque forms and the dynamic forms of a traditional antique typeface. The weights and italics are finely balanced so that it is especially suitable for setting books, but its frugal originality is also appropriate for use in large sizes like in poster design. The type family contains a range of alternate characters, small caps, ligatures, and (in the Regular weight) swashed initials, making it a versatile typographic tool.
FF Enzo OT 1 by Tobias Kvant – Inspired by a variety of styles, both past and present, FF Enzo is a lively multi-weight sans serif. Its extremely large x-height, and short ascenders and descenders make it a powerful headline face, ideal for magazines, posters and such, but it will work fine for body text as well. The family includes italics, tabular figures and four sets of small figures. FF Enzo is the first major typeface from Sweden’s Tobias Kvant, yet it demonstrates a great deal of understanding and skill. We expect to see more in the future from this fine young talent.
FF Max Pro 3 by Morten Olsen – It’s always been popular, but Morten Olsen’s FF Max is due for a major resurgence in today’s design landscape of square forms and rounded edges. The typeface is as fresh now as it was when it was released five years ago, and now it’s even more flexible thanks to two new weights at either end of the family: Extra Light and Fat.
FF Netto OT by Daniel Utz – With FF Netto, Daniel Utz has stripped letters of any historical detail, leaving them with the barest, clearest forms possible. This makes FF Netto ideal for wayfinding, where quick recognition is essential. A series of simple and useful icons and arrows add to its utility for information design, and intelligent borders let you group the pictograms using just a few keystrokes.
[ Link missing ] by Fred Smeijers – A new FF Quadraat Sans weight: Bold Italic
FF Trixie HD Pro Light by Erik van Blokland – Since its release in 1991, from “The X-Files” to “Atonement”, FF Trixie has served as the defacto typeface of mystery and intrigue. For years, it was the most convincing typewriter font available, but FontFont veteran Erik van Blokland was not satisfied. Early printing and operating systems could only handle so many points per font, so FF Trixie’s outlines weren’t as realistic as he wanted. Enter OpenType. Now that technology has caught up with his vision, Van Blokland has thrown everything he can at it. The new FF Trixie offers Rough variations that have more detail for use at larger sizes, yet keep the same overall shape as the originals. But the real advancement is found in FF Trixie HD, which contains seven alternates for each character, each with its own weight and texture. Just like typewritten forms, the letters dance on the baseline and reveal the effect of ink on the ribbon. Van Blokland didn’t stop there. Playing with OpenType’s ability to automatically substitute glyphs, he added a variety of clever effects such as more erratic baseline shifting, faux Greek and Cyrillic, and censor simulation. FF Trixie HD sets a new standard for detail and artificial intelligence. We can safely say no digital font comes closer to emulating a mechanical typewriter. The OT package contains all the features above. Go Pro for CE, Greek, and Cyrillic support.read more